“God wants you to share, Obe!” That’s what our grandson said to his brother when he refused to share the toy he was playing with (and that “toy” happened to be my cellphone). Well, I don’t think he had broken the Third Commandment (“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”), but I do think his effort to convince his brother to share the “toy” was in vain. Obe still refused to share.
Sharing or giving does not come naturally to most of us but taking or gaining does. For that reason, our daughter tries to instill in her children’s minds that sharing is not only good, but it is something that God wants them to do. And I’d like to add, the first reason why God wants us to give is because, it is His characteristic, and so as His children, He wants us to have this quality, too. Secondly, because giving or sharing is the best evidence of faith. If we have no faith that God can and will provide even after we gave, we will not give.
But there is something nobler than giving, and that is sacrifice. It is the utmost form of giving and it reflects love. If we have no love, we will not sacrifice; we may still give or share, but we certainly won’t make any sacrifice. In Streams in the Dessert, her timeless book of devotionals, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman includes this poignant poem about sacrifice: Measure thy life by loss and not by gain/ Not by wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth/ For love’s strength stands in love’s sacrifice/ And he who suffers most has most to give.
Each day presents us with opportunities to make a sacrifice: food given instead of eaten; not saying anything even though we have the right to say it; instead of condemning we show understanding; we choose to love and to forgive, to give up anger and retaliation. Many opportunities to sacrifice; to be measured by loss, not by gain.